US senator continues to oppose F-16 jet sales to Türkiye - M5 Dergi
Defence NewsÖne Çıkan

US senator continues to oppose F-16 jet sales to Türkiye

Abone Ol 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairperson Bob Menendez, who is among the U.S. senators opposing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye, said he has not changed his position regarding the issue, even after Ankara’s announcement that it would ratify Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

There is “nothing new,” Menendez, told Reuters at the Capitol “We continue to raise our concerns.”

During the informal review process for major weapons sales, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees can put “holds” on the deals, stopping them over issues.

Menendez has long opposed the potential sale of the F-16s to Türkiye over issues including Ankara’s refusal to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership, so-called concerns about human rights abuses and Turkish-Greek relations.

Turkish officials have criticized the biased senator’s support for Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration for personal and political gains, saying that he has damaged Türkiye-U.S. relations.

NATO member Türkiye requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes. President Joe Biden’s administration supports the sale.

Ankara had held out on the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership for months, due to the country’s support for terrorist groups, including the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). But President Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 10 he would forward the ratification to Parliament when it reopens in the autumn.

Menendez spoke more about Türkiye later on Wednesday during a confirmation hearing for Biden’s nominee to be assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

“Sweden still hasn’t received a vote from Turkey even though Erdoğan said, ‘Yes, OK, Sweden should be in.’ He could have called the Parliament. He could have had the vote. He hasn’t had it,” Menendez said. His comments disregarded the fact that the Turkish Parliament is currently on summer break and will resume legislative sessions and discuss ratification of Sweden’s membership in the fall.

Menendez also cited concern about Türkiye’s relations with Greece, asking, “How does it work for us to have one NATO ally be belligerent to another and someone sell them F-16s?” He also disregarded recent positive developments in relations between Athens and Ankara, as officials from both countries have been in favor of establishing a dialogue to solve bilateral problems.

A State Department spokesperson said the department would continue the consultation.

The spokesperson said Biden has long been clear that he supports the sale. “This is about facilitating NATO interoperability and is in the U.S. national interest,” the spokesperson said.

Turkish officials previously said Ankara may turn to other countries such as Russia if the United States fails to follow through on its promise to deliver F-16 fighter jets.

Abone Ol 

Related Articles

Abone Ol 
Back to top button